New passport office opens in Orlando | Orlando

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Photo via Congressman Maxwell Frost

Residents of Central Florida will soon no longer have to drive four hours to Miami to apply for a passport.

The U.S. State Department has selected Orlando as the site for the state's second passport office, which will complement the existing office in Miami, U.S. Rep. Maxwell Frost of Orlando announced Tuesday.

Although Florida is the third-largest U.S. state by population, it currently has only one passport agency. California and New York, on the other hand, each have three agencies. Frost said he pushed State Department officials to create another agency during his first year in office.

“This is a win for people across the South,” he said. “People have to drive for hours, many have to spend their own money to get a hotel room for a night because it's so far from their home, and so we're just thrilled that we're going to have this office here.”

Orlando was one of six cities, including Salt Lake City, Kansas City, Charlotte, San Antonio and Cincinnati, selected by the federal government this week to establish new agencies. The expansion is intended to better serve the growing number of U.S. citizens with passports, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said in a statement.

Florida workers often can't take the time to drive to Miami for passport applications during the week, Frost said. At his request, Miami began reducing Saturday hours last year but still struggles to meet the needs of millions of Floridians.

Orlando already has several passport offices where residents can take passport photos, send them to the State Department, and receive their passport in the mail a few weeks later. However, for last-minute travel needs, passport offices can also apply for a new passport the same day.

The U.S. General Services Administration will now select a location for the office – a process that could take up to a year, Frost said. He is unsure how long it will take after the site selection for the office to open.

The location chosen could impact the time it takes to open the office. If it opens in an existing federal building, the process could take less time, Frost said.

Frost stressed that Orlando is a suitable location for an office because of its large tourism industry and airport. He said his team hopes to work with the federal government and local authorities to select the office location as quickly as possible – hopefully before the estimated one-year deadline.

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